Assessing the correlation between longitudinal changes in "U.S. News World & Report" undergraduate college rankings and the broader institutional experience from 1999 to 2007

Philip J Schubert, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) could not fully have anticipated the gold mine of increased readership that would follow its decision to enter the arena of college rankings. Each year, millions of interested readers flock to the newsstands eagerly anticipating the release of the new college rankings. ^ Some suggest college rankings only measure reputation or visibility, while others counter that they simply measure the quality of student inputs without regard for the intellectual transformation indicative of true education. Regardless of one's view, most factors seem to indicate that collegiate rankings are here to stay. Given the consumer popularity of collegiate rankings and the fervent debate among ranking authorities and college officials over ranking legitimacy, this study attempts to infuse a greater understanding of the factors that influence the rankings and how rankings inform broader institutional characteristics. Specifically, the research questions are as follows: (1) What factors are most heavily correlated with a change in USNWR undergraduate ranking? (2) Do the institutional characteristics differ among colleges and universities whose rankings have improved versus those whose rankings have declined or remained stagnant? (3) How do answers to the first two research questions differ among types of institutions (liberal arts, national, and regional)? ^ The study charts the undergraduate ranking experience of more than 300 institutions across a nine-year period (1999–2007), indentifies factors correlated with ranking changes, and discusses differences among the aggregate institutional profiles of colleges and universities that have improved in ranking versus those whose rankings have declined or remained stagnant. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Philip J Schubert, "Assessing the correlation between longitudinal changes in "U.S. News World & Report" undergraduate college rankings and the broader institutional experience from 1999 to 2007" (January 1, 2009). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3374195.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3374195

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